Title:
Stretch ribbon for ballet shoes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ribbon capable of being connected to a ballet shoe and wrapped around the ankle of a person wearing the ballet shoe to secure the ballet shoe to the person, wherein the ribbon is made of a material that can expand and contract, and wherein the ribbon is capable of remaining snug against the ankle as the person moves their ankle with respect to their toes.



Inventors:
Juniman, Marlena L. (Upper Holland, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/478232
Publication Date:
01/04/2007
Filing Date:
06/29/2006
Assignee:
Footloose Dancewear, Inc. (Jenkintown, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43B5/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KAVANAUGH, JOHN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frank A. Mazzeo (Colmar, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A ribbon capable of being connected to a ballet shoe and wrapped around the ankle of a person wearing the ballet shoe to secure the ballet shoe to the person, wherein the ribbon is made of a material that can expand and contract, and wherein the ribbon is capable of remaining snug against the ankle as the person moves their ankle with respect to their toes.

2. The ribbon of claim 1, wherein the ribbon is made of an elastic material.

3. The ribbon of claim 1, wherein the ribbon is made of a combination of nylon and spandex.

4. The ribbon of claim 3, wherein the ribbon is about 70% nylon and about 30% spandex.

5. The ribbon of claim 2, wherein the ribbon is capable of being stretched a substantial amount.

6. The ribbon of claim 5, wherein the ribbon is capable of being stretched to a length of at least approximately 1.6 times the ribbon's length when it is not in a stretched state.

7. The ribbon of claim 1, wherein the ribbon is connected to the ballet shoe at of near a binding formed in an opening to receive the foot.

8. The ribbon of claim 7, wherein the ribbon is sewed to the ballet shoe.

9. The ribbon of claim 1, wherein the ballet shoe is a pointe shoe.

10. The ribbon of claim 1, wherein the ballet shoe is a flat shoe.

11. A ballet shoe comprising a body having an opening for receiving a foot; a sole; and an elastic ribbon connected to the body near the opening, wherein the ribbon is used to securer the ballet shoe to an individual wearing the ballet shoe by wrapping the elastic ribbon around the ankle of the individual, and wherein the ribbon is capable of remaining snug against the ankle as the individual moves their ankle with respect to their toes.

12. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the elastic ribbon is made of a combination of nylon and spandex.

13. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the elastic ribbon is capable of being stretched a substantial amount.

14. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the ribbon is connected to the ballet shoe at of near a binding formed in the opening.

15. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the elastic ribbon is sewed to the ballet shoe.

16. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the ballet shoe is a pointe shoe.

17. The ballet shoe of claim 11, further comprising a box to encase and support the individuals toes; and a shank to support to the individuals arch.

18. The ballet shoe of claim 11, wherein the ballet shoe is a flat shoe.

19. A method for securing ballet shoes to a ballet dancer's foot, comprising wrapping an elastic ribbon connected to the ballet shoes around the ballet dancers ankle, wherein the ribbon is capable of remaining snug against the ankle as the person moves their ankle with respect to their toes.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the elastic ribbon is made of a combination of nylon and spandex.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/695,225, filed on Jun. 29, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth.

BACKGROUND

Ballet shoes come in two main styles, flat shoes and pointe shoes. Flat shoes are used for performing different techniques (also called technique shoes). Flat shoes include a sole and a body to protect and support the foot. The flat shoes may be made of durable yet flexible material, such as leather and/or canvass. The flat shoes provide the foot flexibility (e.g., allows the foot to fully extend, allows jumping and turning). The flat shoes may include a ribbon connected to the body of the shoe that is used to wrap around the dancers ankle to secure the shoe to the dancer's ankle or for aesthetics. The ribbons may be made of a nylon material and be difficult to tie and remain tied as the dancer performs.

Pointe shoes are used when a performance requires the dancer to stand on their toes (en pointe). It is almost impossible and not advisable to stand on ones toes without a pointe shoe. Pointe shoes include structural features that allow the dancer to dance on the tips of their toes.

FIG. 1 illustrates several views of an example prior art pointe shoe 100. The shoe 100 includes a sole 110, a body 120, an opening 130, binding 140, a box 150, a shank 160, and ribbons 170. The box 150 is a strengthened material (e.g., layers of paper or burlap that is stiffened with glue) that encases and supports the dancer's toes. The box 150 is flattened into a platform 180 (e.g., squared off) upon which the dancer can balance. The shank 160 is a strengthened piece of material (e.g., layers of glue-hardened paper, leather, plastic, fiber glass) added to the bottom of the shoe and running near to the length of the sole 110. The shank 160 provides support to the arch of a dancer's foot as she stands en pointe. The body 120 may be formed of a material (e.g., satin, canvas) that wraps around the box 150 and the sole 110.

The binding 140 is used at the opening 130 to receive the foot and is usually a cotton or synthetic blend of material. The binding 140 may include a drawstring 145 for tightening. The drawstring 145 can be made of either elastic material or non-stretch cotton.

The ribbons 170 are connected to the body 110 and extend out of the opening 130. The ribbons 170 may be part of the shoe 100 or may be purchased and secured (e.g., sewn) to the shoe 100 separately. The ribbons 170 are used to secure the shoe 100 to the foot. The ribbons 170 may be wrapped around the dancer's ankle and tied (knotted) at the back of the foot or at the inside of the foot under the anklebone. The ribbons 170 may be made of a nylon or satin material. The ribbons 170 may be difficult to tie and remain tied as the dancer performs. Furthermore, the location of the knot may move as the dancer performs. The knot may be held together by wetting the ends or accessories may be used to hold the knot together and/or in place. The knot also can be sewn so that it does not become untied.

As the dancer is performing the ribbon 170 may become tight while the foot is in certain positions and loose while the foot is in other positions. FIG. 2 illustrates an example of how the prior art ribbon 170 may be situated on a dancers foot during different positions. The left image illustrates the dancer on their toes (en pointe) and the ribbon 170 being tight both across the top of the foot 200 as well as around the front 210 and back of the ankle 220. The right image shows the dancer having their feet flat on the floor (plie) and the ribbon 170 being loose on the top of the feet 200 and the sides 230 of the ankle.

Furthermore, the ribbon 170 does not flex so it may dig into the dancer foot and/or ankle and cause a cut, blister or nodule at or near that point. Moreover, in extreme cases a ribbon may become so tight that it acts as a tourniquet and restricts blood flow.

A tight ribbon may also restrict the dancer's movement. For example, the ribbon may restrict movement of the dancer's ankle and not permit the heels to come down completely in the “plie” position. Not putting the heels down time after time will cause inflammation to the Achilles (large tendon at the back of the ankle that connects the large calf muscles to the heal bone) area as well as contribute to the tendency of enlarged calf muscles. This may be particularly harmful if the dancer has a short Achilles tendon or a stiff foot construction.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example of prior art shoes restricting movement of the ballet dancer. The left image illustrates the dancer en pointe 300 and the right image illustrates the dancer attempting to shift to plie 310. However, the ribbon restricts the dancer's movement and prevents the heel 320 from laying flat on the floor 330.

The continual movements of the dancer feet in classical ballet between en pointe, (on the tips of their toes), demie point, (on ½ toe or the ball of the foot), and plie (keeping feet flat on the floor and bending the knees) may overuse/overstress the ankle tendons. The overuse/overstress may cause tendonitis or produce a nodule. Pressure from a tight ribbon exacerbates these problems and can cause bursitis.

A ribbon that is easier to tie and is flexible so as to secure a dancers foot in the shoe but not too tight so as to restrict movement or otherwise hurt the dancer is desired.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the various embodiments will become apparent from the following detailed description in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates several views of an example prior art pointe shoe;

FIG. 2 illustrates an example of how the prior art ribbon may be situated on a dancers foot during different positions;

FIG. 3 illustrates an example of prior art shoes restricting movement of the ballet dancer;

FIG. 4 illustrates an example ballet shoe incorporating an elastic ribbon in multiple positions, according to one embodiment; and

FIG. 5 illustrates an example ballet shoe using elastic ribbon providing increased range of movement to the dancer, according to one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A ribbon that has elastic properties is proposed to replace the prior art nylon or satin ribbons that are used for wrapping around a dancers leg to secure the shoe to the dancer and support the dancer's foot and ankle where needed. The elastic material will stretch and retract as the dancer performs so as to remain snug against the dancer (top of their foot and ankle). The elastic ribbon should not gap (or move away from the foot or ankle) or become excessively tight as the dancer moves. Accordingly, the elastic ribbon should not dig into the dancer causing cuts and/or blisters, act as a tourniquet and restrict blood flow, or provide additional pressure on the dancer's foot thereby exacerbating ankle/foot problems caused by ballet dancing.

The elastic ribbon may be provided with the ballet shoes. The ribbon may be secured to the shoe permanently (e.g., integrated into the body of the shoe) or temporarily (sewn or glued to the body of the shoe). If glue is used, the ribbon would be placed under the shank, glued and then sewn down to prevent the ribbon from slipping in case the glue did not hold. Alternatively, the elastic ribbon may be separate from the shoe so as to be connected (e.g., stitched, sewn) to the shoe by or for the dancer.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example ballet shoe 400 incorporating an elastic ribbon 410 in multiple positions. The elastic ribbon is snug against the dancer's foot 420, ankle 430 and leg 440 in both positions. There are no gaps and the ribbon is not excessively tight at any point. The elastic ribbon 410 can be used for both pointe and flat ballet shoes to secure the shoe to the dancer.

The elastic ribbon should increase range of foot motion (prevent the dancers movement from being restricted). For example, it should help the heel release (come down completely) when coming off pointe to a plie position. Allowing the heel to release reduces strain on the Achilles tendon.

FIG. 5 illustrates an example of the ballet shoe 400 using the elastic ribbon increasing the range of movement of the dancer. The left image illustrates the dancer en pointe 500 and the right image illustrates the dancer shifting to plie 510 and having the heel 520 laying flat on the floor 530.

According to one embodiment, the elastic ribbon is made of nylon and spandex. For example, the elastic ribbon can be about 70% nylon and about 30% spandex. The elastic ribbon may be able to expand substantially when the ribbon is stretched. For example, the elastic ribbon's stretch properties may be such that it can be stretched out to over approximately 1.6 times it normal unstretched length. Since the elastic ribbon is capable of stretching another benefit is that a shorter length of ribbon is needed to keep the shoe tied to the dancer.

According to one embodiment, the elastic ribbon is ⅞ of an inch wide. Each piece of ribbon is approximately 18 inches long, with two pieces needed per shoe (four pieces total for the dancer).

The elastic ribbon may easier to knot. Moreover, the knot in the elastic ribbon may be less likely to come undone or shift due to its stretch properties. Accordingly, the elastic ribbon may not need to be wet to be tied nor sewn. Also, accessories may not be needed to hold the knot together and/or in place.

Although the invention has been illustrated by reference to specific embodiments, it will be apparent that various changes and modifications may be made. Reference to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” appearing in various places throughout the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

The various embodiments are intended to be protected broadly within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.